Like many other photogs*, I've spent some time recently looking back over the shots I've taken this year and having another look over them. Did I do the best I could in terms of selecting which to post on Flickr and my Zenfolio site? Did I do them justice when processing them? It's an interesting and useful exercise to go through, as I often find my thoughts about certain shots change over time, or as I've picked up new information and ideas. It can be anything from spotting a better/different way to process a shot, or deciding you actually prefer a totally different shot from a sequence you took.
(* just as an aside, I still consider myself just a bloke with a fancy camera than a photographer...)
You will find many photography blogs picking their best shots from 2012, many picking the best shot from each month. Originally I wasn't going to join in with this as it's becoming a bit of a cliche (no offence intended to others) and perhaps too commonplace. I decided what it actually means is that I spend too much time reading photography blogs! Plus, last year I made a calendar for friends and family which I haven't done this year, so this can serve as the thought process for the shots I would have put in if I had done one... For me, the hard part is still trying to judge what is a genuinely good shot from someone else's point of view. Of course I think they are good or else I wouldn't share them, but I have the benefit of knowing why I took that shot and what it made me feel at the time - if someone else viewing my shots doesn't get that, then maybe my shot isn't as good as I want it to be.
Anyway, here we go:
My choice to kick off the year is from a set of shots I took at dawn on Ferring Beach (Flickr set) and remains a set of shots I'm pretty chuffed with. It was very cold indeed and all shots are handheld in low light, so if anyone ever asks you if Nikon's VR lenses work, the answer is yes. A beautiful morning and I hope the set of shots have done it some justice. I could have picked a few from here but for some reason this is my favourite - no real reason other than it just is...
|Dawn at Ferring: D5000, 16-85mm @ 22mm f6.3|
Not a huge choice of shots this month, but a nice stroll after a lovely family lunch led us to this view of the River Test near Longstock in Hampshire.
|River Test: D5000, 16-85mm @ 34mm f7.|
This was a really quiet month for me photographically, so this is by no means a great shot, but I got to spend some time in Boston and I like the juxtaposition between the old and new buildings.
|Canon Ixus point & shoot|
This was the month I picked up my new D700, so I had a lot to learn! Great camera and I've been very impressed with it since I got it (despite it currently residing back with Nikon for repair).
I was very pleased and excited to get up to the Lake District this month as it's an area I know well, plus the added bonus of a wedding to attend. Quite a few shots were taken: Lake District but the main choice for the month had to come from here: Zoe and Aidan's Wedding. In the end I've gone for this shot as to me it symbolises a nice moment of quiet and calm for Aidan and Zoe during an amazing, but hectic day for them. Congratulations Mr and Mrs George!
|Alone at Last: 24-0mm @ 70mm cropped f11|
I could have chosen a few shots this month (you'll notice a theme developing here) - I like the majority of the shots in this set: Balloon Flight as we had such a great afternoon and evening finally getting on the balloon flight we had booked for Dad's 70th birthday the previous October.
In the end, I've gone with this shot as it's a reminder of what summer should be like in England - blue skies, sun shining, with fields full of crops and livestock. Unfortunately that's been a rare occurrence this year!
|Summer on the South Downs: 24-70mm @ 70mm f9|
This was the trickiest month for me to decide, simply due to the number of shots I took this month. We had 10 days in Croatia which is an incredibly photogenic place. We were staying in Korcula which is a lovely old walled city, had a day trip to Dubrovnik (one of the most famous and most photographed walled cities) and encountered dolphins during a boat trip. No surprise that between us (truth be told, mainly me) we took over 750 shots. Narrowed it down to 190-ish for Flickr: Croatia Set. An incredibly relaxing holiday and an amazing photographic experience for me, although Sue has a slightly different thought on that as her main view was this:
Anyway, here is my choice as it was a perfect reflection of the great day we had relaxing in the sun (other favourites include this: Flickr and any of the dolphin shots).
|Korcula Sunset: 50mm f1.8 @ f10|
This was a really tricky month to pick just one shot from. We had a number of really nice evenings with great light coming into the garden, as well as some lovely days out and about. The majority of these shots are here: Flickr Pg9
I went for this shot in the end as I love the level of detail in the leaves and water droplets.
|Maple leaves: 24-70mm @ 62mm f5|
This was a pretty straightforward choice for me as this was my clear favourite from a few days up in Yorkshire, although I also got some shots of owls I was really pleased with when we randomly found a bird of prey display in York City centre: Flickr.
|Yorkshire Heather: 24-70mm @ 70mm f5|
I had a couple of really memorable days in September taking photos of animals at The Working Horse Trust and The British Wildlife Centre, but I've picked this evening shot from near the top of Ranmore Common in the Surrey Hills as I think it captures the time of year nicely with the soft evening light and the harvested field to the lower left of frame. We also had some amazing skies in September (such as this and the shots near it in my photo stream: Flickr) so this was a month to call in terms of which shot to chose.
|Looking out from Ranmore: 70-300mm @ 122mm f20|
Another tricky month as I ended up taking a load of nice autumnal landscape shots and millions (not quite literally) of shots of deer throughout the rut. This one sticks with me as this chap allowed me to get pretty close and it was obvious he was exhausted - I could see his eye lids dropping through the viewfinder. To me it is a pretty good image of the effect the rutting season has on the stags. The obvious shot would have been to show some fighting or herding.
|Sleepy Head: 70-300mm @ 300mm f5.6|
I didn't have a load of shots to pick from in November, but I really like the way the sheep in the foreground lead you to the fence line, which then leads into the rest of the picture. The colours in the trees and the light and texture in the sky all add interest.
|Slindon Estate to the Sea: 24-70mm @ 52mm f11|
There were a few shots I could have chosen from the same morning, but I really like the light and detail on this shot. See others here: Flickr
|Heavy Frost: 300mm f4 @f4|
Two bonus shots (mainly for the novelty factor of getting photos of Sue):
Hope you've enjoyed this - as always I'd love to hear your thoughts on the shots I've chosen (or not chosen). Soon it will be time to have a think about plans for 2013. Best wishes for the New Year.